– In North Georgia’s second straight weekend against a
top-10 team, the 15th-ranked Saints split a Saturday doubleheader
at 9th-ranked Francis Marion, taking game one 4-1, before the
Patriots notched a 1-0 shutout in Peach Belt Conference action.
North Georgia moves to 26-12 overall on the year and 13-7 in Peach Belt Conference action, while the Patriots win their 30th game of the season in the nightcap, moving their record to 30-9 overall and 11-6 in league play.
In a pair of rare pitching duels, the Saints came out on top in the opener behind a stellar complete-game performance from Chris Rearick. The senior went the distance, allowing just four hits and one run over 9.0 innings, while striking out eight and walking two.
The Saints scored all their runs in consecutive innings with a two spot in the fourth, before single runs in the fifth and sixth innings was all North Georgia needed in a three-run victory.
Anders Oster drove in the first run of the game in the fourth inning, plating Andre Airich who stole second earlier in the frame to set up the RBI single. Kenny Bellavance scored what turned out to be the winning run later in the inning as a throwing error allowed Daniel Petitti to reach safely and Bellavance to trot home for a 2-0 lead.
The Saints would follow with single runs in each of the next two innings as a sacrifice fly from Jordan Erisman, and a fielder’s choice manufactured two more runs.
Francis Marion scored their lone run of the game in the fifth inning as the Patriots put a pair of runner on base before Josh Biggers grounded out to put the Patriots into the scoring column.
Game two was much of the same as both pitchers settled in and combined to throw over 15 innings as Francis Marion would score the game’s only run in the third inning to earn the doubleheader split. Tyler Boyd was responsible for the run, an RBI single to center field to plate Jacob Wallace as the Patriots held on the victory.
North Georgia did have six hits in the defeat, and stranded seven runners, including a pair in the first inning and two more in the eighth inning with prime chances to take the lead or tie the game.
Blake Hobby (5-3) was the tough-luck loser, recording a complete-game with 8.0 innings of three-hit ball, allowing one earned run while walking one and striking out two.
Don Sandifer (5-0) remained unbeaten in his collegiate career as he allowed five hits in 7.1 innings, while striking out three and not walking a batter.
North Georgia and Francis Marion will battle in the rubber game of the weekend series on Sunday afternoon with first pitch set for 1:00 p.m.